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Apple iBooks: Great for bestselling authors, not so good for the rest of us authors

I’m happy to report that The Tourist Trail is now available on Apple’s iBookstore — which means you can purchase through the iPad and iPhone.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the only way you can find this book is if you search for it by name.

To put it mildly, the iBookstore (shown below) is no Amazon.com.

The iBookstore is excellent at displaying the major new releases and bestselling paid and free (read: Gutenberg.org) books. But it lacks the features that I’ve come to appreciate about Amazon — the “hey, you might also like this” feature that displays books based on your browsing/purchasing behavior.

Perhaps that’s a good thing. Amazon has become awfully cluttered over the past few years. The iBookstore is, by comparison, austere.

So perhaps this approach is an excellent differentiating factor for readers.

But for authors, the odds of your book “bubbling up” is not good.

On Amazon, for example, my book is doing fairly well in the “animal rights” and “polar regions” categories. But these categories do not exist on the iBookstore. As a publisher, you can only tag your book with one category in the iBookstore, while you can tag you book with five categories in Amazon.com, which makes your book much more findable.

So The Tourist Trail is tagged as literary fiction, which means it has quickly disappeared into the vast sea of literary fiction.

Also, as an author, I can’t email people a hyperlink to the book so they can buy it via iPad. People just have to find it on their own, which is easy, of course, if you know what you’re looking for.

I love the iBooks app. The app combined with the iPad results in a rich reading experience. When I compare the two, the iPad feels like a luxurious hardcover; the Kindle feels like a worn old paperback.

However, the Kindle store feels more like a “real” bookstore than the iBookstore. The Kindle store has a daily blog, a wealth of categories, personal recommendations. It makes new and unkown authors more discoverable.

And as a new and unknown author, I appreciate that.

That said, if you do have an iPad and you do think you’d like a copy of The Tourist Trail — it’s live and ready for download!

The good news, just like Amazon.com, you can download a free sample.

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